July 14, 2022–9:15 a.m.
GORDON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
In January 2018, a local businessman and antique collector reported the theft of a large amount of valuable Civil War era relics to the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office.
The victim reported that he’d contracted with a well-known antiquities dealer to sell particular items, but that the dealer had stolen other items and refused their return.
Sheriff’s detectives immediately initiated an investigation, focusing on nationally known antiquities broker/expert Gary L. Hendershott.
The following month, in February 2018, Hendershott was arrested in Florida by US Marshals on Theft warrants from Gordon County.
He was returned to Gordon County, posted a bond, and was released.
The investigation continued, however, with many leads in a number of jurisdictions being followed, and a number of witnesses being interviewed.
On February 22, 2018, (Gordon County) Sheriff’s detectives and local officers from Del Ray Beach (Florida) Police searched Hendershott’s home where several items of stolen antique property were recovered.
The particular property, a pair of vintage pistols and a written historical document, was valued in excess of $8,000.00 and was returned to the rightful owner.
Hendershott was indicted by a Gordon County Grand Jury in May 2019 on charges of Theft.
The COVID pandemic postponed Hendershott’s trial until January 2022 when he appeared in Superior Court.
On his trial date, however, he failed to show and a bench warrant was issued for him as a fugitive.
Gordon County detectives coordinated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and were able to track and locate Hendershott in West Palm Beach, Florida through a lead generated by a food delivery service.
Hendershott was returned to Gordon County a second time in April 2022 whereupon bond was denied by the Superior Court.
In June, a Gordon County grand jury returned indictments against Hendershott a second time charging him with Theft (by Taking), Theft (by Conversion), and (felony) Bail Jumping.
Hendershott is nationally known in antiquities circles as a broker, dealer, and consultant. His website states “foremost authority on historical guns, swords, flags, uniforms, military history, and documents…”
According to his website, he is the author of the book, ‘Fakes and Scoundrels’.
This week, a Gordon County (trial) jury heard Hendershott’s case in Superior Court. On the witness stand, Hendershott said that he failed to appear in court in January in order to return to Florida to hire a different attorney.
He also said essentially that he’d intended to return the stolen property.
On July 13, the jury deliberated about an hour before returning a verdict of ‘Guilty’ on 3 counts of Theft by Conversion, 1 count of Theft by Taking, and Bail Jumping.
He was acquitted of 2 other theft charges. Hendershott was returned to custody in the county jail and is scheduled to be sentenced on August 18th.
Sheriff Ralston commended the detectives assigned to the case, as well as District Attorney Samir Patel’s staff for their diligence and skill in investigating and prosecuting a tedious, far-ranging, and complex case.